May 25, 2016
Connect Media’s Daniella Soloway caught up with Clare De Briere, chief operating officer and executive vice president of The Ratkovich Company. As the nearly 2 million square feet of mixed-use space at The Bloc in DTLA approaches its grand opening on June 9th, with Connect Los Angeles taking place on the ground and Clare participating as a speaker, we discussed how this development came to be, and what it will bring to both the local and tourist community.
DS: How are sources of capital available for development investment adjusting to today’s market?
CDB: Our capital sources, both on the debt and equity front, are well capitalized, institutional investors with long views. They are making smart investment decisions with experienced and capable developers in key markets in projects with solid fundamentals.
DS: What makes The Bloc’s development process unique?
CDB: A development like this has never really been accomplished before. We renovated the hotel, the retail center and the office building, while operating all of those businesses the entire time. It was really a remarkable feat!
DS: How did The Ratkovich Co. breathe new life into an urban site that once was referred to as the red bricked Alamo of DTLA?
CDB: Our goal in developing The Bloc was to reconnect a dated hotel, office building and retail back to the city. By removing the roof, creating roof top decks at both the Sheraton Grand Hotel and the Office Building, bringing the lobby of the hotel to the street level, creating a new valet parking level, opening mid-block crossings and developing new street front stores along both Hope and Flower, and creating active entertainment in The Square, we have completely transformed the site. We now have a sleekly redesigned Macy’s, a 496-room Sheraton Grand Hotel, and a 720,000 square foot creative leaning office tower that are seamlessly blending with an open-to-the-sky marketplace featuring thoughtfully collected local boutiques, artisans, premiere retailers and culinary utopias. All are artfully roosted amongst expansive, beautiful outdoor spaces that will play host to a diverse roster of LA’s coolest art installations and live performances.